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General definitions

Don't know

The use of a category capturing ‘don't know’ responses is most applicable to household surveys, where ‘don't know’ may be a legitimate response to certain questions.

Grouped total responses

Grouped total responses includes all of the people who stated each ethnic group, whether as their only ethnic group or as one of several ethnic groups. People with responses that fall into more than one group are counted once in each group at level one of the standard ethnicity classification with which they identified themselves. For example, people of Samoan, Tongan and German ethnicities would be counted (when outputting at the highest level of the classification) once in the Pacific peoples category and once in the European one.

Refer also to 'total responses'.

Not elsewhere classified

A ‘not elsewhere classified’ (nec) category is a residual category used for responses for which no appropriate category exists. Such responses are usually infrequent or unanticipated. These categories never appear within classifications as stand-alone descriptors, but are combined with descriptors, often taken from a higher level in the classification.

Not elsewhere included

The categories 'not stated', 'response outside scope', 'response unidentifiable', 'refused to answer' and 'don't know' may be output separately.

Where a combination item of residuals is to be used in output, this item should be labelled 'not elsewhere included' and should have a footnote indicating its composition.

Not further defined

A 'not further defined' (nfd) category is a type of residual category that is used in hierarchical classification for responses containing insufficient detail to be classified to the most detailed level of a classification, but which can be classified to a less detailed category further up the hierarchy.

Not stated

This category is used only where a respondent has not given any response to the question asked, that is, it is solely for non-response.

Refused to answer

This category is used only when it is known that the respondent has purposefully chosen not to respond to the question.

Residual category

Residual categories may be broadly described as universal classification categories that capture particular types of survey responses. For example, non-response is common to all surveys, and a standard residual category descriptor may be used to identify this type of response (‘not stated’).

Refer also to 'don't know', 'not stated', 'refused to answer', 'response outside scope' and 'response unidentifiable'.

Response outside scope

This category is used for responses that are positively identified (that is, the meaning and intent are clear) but which clearly fall outside the scope of the classification/topic as defined in the standard.

Response unidentifiable

This category is used when there is a response given but:

  • the response is illegible, or
  • it is unclear what the meaning or intent of the response is – this most commonly occurs when the response being classified contains insufficient detail, is ambiguous or is vague, or
    the response is contradictory, eg both the yes and no tick boxes have been ticked, or
  • the response is clear and seemingly within the scope of the classification but cannot be coded because no suitable option (particularly other residual category options such as 'not elsewhere classified' or 'not further defined') exists in the classification or codefile.

Single and combination

Several census variables allow people to provide more than one response to the question. In single and combination output tables there are categories for people who reported only one response, and combination categories for people who reported more than one response. People are counted just once in the category that applies to them, according to the category or combination of categories they have reported. For example, for outputs of ethnic group, categories may include European/Māori, or Māori/Pacific peoples. This means that the total population will be equal to the usual subject population for that variable, as individuals are counted once only.

Variables that are usually output on the basis of single and combination categories are:

  • ethnic group
  • language spoken
  • fuel type used to heat dwellings.

Total responses

Several census variables allow people to provide more than one response to the question. When a person has reported more than one response, they will be counted in each group they reported. In output tables this is presented as 'total responses', for example, ethnic group (total responses). This means that the total population will be greater than the usual subject population for that variable, as individuals may be counted more than once.

Variables that may be output on the basis of total responses are:

  • ethnic group
  • language spoken
  • iwi
  • religious affiliation
  • sources of personal income
  • job search methods
  • unpaid activities
  • sources of family income
  • sources of extended family income
  • sources of household income
  • fuel type used to heat dwellings
  • access to telecommunication systems.

Multiple responses may also be able to be reported as a combination of response categories. For example, for outputs of ethnic group, categories may include European/Māori, Māori/Pacific peoples.

Refer also to 'grouped total responses' and 'single and combination'.

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